The holiday season can be such a joyous time of year! Or it can turn you into a giant ball of stress if you have to chase your cat out of that tree one more time or stop your pup from destroying yet another ornament. Don’t let your furry pal deter you from keeping your bright and festive traditions! We’ve compiled some tips and tricks to keep your pet safe and enjoy the holidays without worry.
… but not with holly! Did you know mistletoe, poinsettias, amaryllis, and holly can be harmful to pets? While great for adding holiday cheer, these holiday plants can cause some tummy trouble for our furry friends. It’s best to avoid them altogether or hang them at a height they cannot be reached. Some great alternatives would be spider plants, red petunias, or a Christmas cactus to add some festive cheer.
Plants aren’t the only things to be mindful of decking the halls with! Candles may offer a beautiful glow, but they can be very tempting – especially for your curious feline friends. Instead of real candles, you could opt for battery operated ones this year. Many even have flickering ‘flames,’ and you can hardly tell they’re not the real deal. Bonus: they often come with timers, so you don’t have to worry about lighting them each night! If you absolutely need to use the real ones, make sure you put them entirely out of reach and extinguish them before leaving your pet alone (or going to bed).
Due to the new Department of Transportation (DOT) policy, Emotional Support Animals are NO longer allowed to fly in airplane cabins for free. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs are eligible.
Oliver was our most challenging cat at Christmas when it came to the tree. He went BONKERS when we set it up, running 550 MPH around the base of it, tearing under the skirt, batting at the ornaments, and climbing the branches. It was a nightmare. I frantically searched: how to keep cats away from the tree. Here are some things we did:
Lastly, at our wit’s end, we decided to suspend the tree from the ceiling and sit back and sip our wine while we watched Oliver try to jump high enough to get up in it. KIDDING. We didn’t actually hang the tree from the ceiling. But we thought about it. And there was definitely wine involved.
All jokes (and stubborn cat antics) aside, the Christmas tree can be one of the most significant hazards (and headaches) for any pet owner during the holidays. And you may find fishing wire comes in handy to anchor your tree to the wall in case the kitty decides to climb it! Here are some other tips to help bring joy around your tree (and it’s trimmings):
Holidays are a time for gathering with our (human) friends and families too, but no one likes a party pooper! Make sure your guests know the rules regarding your pet before they come over. Is anyone allowed to touch your furry friend? If kids will be around, how does your pet deal with them? And make sure no one is slipping a slice of pecan pie under the table to earn Fido’s affections! Always keep an eye on open doors as people come and go so your pet doesn’t sneak out or accidentally get left outside. You may even consider having a quiet and safe space for your pet to hang out during any gatherings – like a spare room with a closed door. This eliminates any stress or guessing if he is happy and safe with all the entertainment and gives him a respite from all the (human) party animals.
If you’ve got kids (or if you’re a kid at heart), then you know one of the best parts of Christmas eve is munching on those cookies and milk left out for Santa! Just be sure you don’t actually leave the plate of goodies out, or they’re apt to be eaten by a four-legged friend… and I’m not talking about the reindeer!
Speaking of food… We may use the “But it’s the holidays” excuse for ourselves while indulging in that special treat, but that could end poorly for our pets. Be sure to skip the people-food and opt for a special pet-safe holiday treat instead. You can find more tips on toxic foods for your pup here.
Now that you’re ready to decorate, entertain and enjoy the holiday season while keeping your pet friends safe, there’s only one thing left to think about: the PRESENTS! Don’t be the one that gets a train with square wheels or an ostrich-riding cowboy for a gift. Casually send your friends this list of great gifts for dog parents and cross your fingers for the one you’ve got your eye on!
The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!
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